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back to article Royal Navy starts work on new, pointless frigates

The Royal Navy has decided to spend £127m to answer the question: "What should the next generation of frigates be like?" This is disappointing, as the real question is "do we actually need any more frigates?" and the answer is very likely "No, or not in their present form, anyway." Officially the navy, commissioning BAE Systems …

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title TBH

"British shipyards can't build floating steel boxes at prices to compete with yards abroad: they need to have sonars and radars and guns and missiles and complexity built into the design so as to justify a huge price markup".

pressumably, a combat freighter will not need radars, guns etc. adding complexity. perhaps the nasty old enemy will be defeated with heat seeking elf un safety inspectors fitted with asbo warheads?

truth is, arming such a ship merely turns it into a bigger, slower, more cumbersome version of the ship it is intended to replace.

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Stop

It makes me proud to be a taxpayer

The cold war is over, but we're spending billions on Trident, supersonic fighter planes & cruise missiles. Obviously our soldiers don't have proper boots or vehicles, but savings have to be made somewhere if BAE's cosy, corrupt monopoly is to be maintained.

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There's other problems.

What you don't understand is that this frigate addresses another problem that you skipped in your list --- the grave lack of helicopters.

Instead of the more-effective merchantman + say 6 helicopters, there's this with only 1 heli: pronto! 5 helicopters more for Afghanistan! Profit!

(OK, the navy will have to lease those to the army, but still.)

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Megaphone

BAe systems...

Stuff you don't need...

At a price you can't afford!

Still, it keeps a few Admirals happy and the nice cosy relationship between the MoD & it's suppliers ticking over expensively, maybe even a few jobs in a marginal constituency or two.

I mean, it's only the defence budget, why not waste it on silly toys anyway? It's not as though we might actually need armed forces to be properly equipped to fight somebody somewhere is it?

Errrr....

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Not to be a pedant

But you seem to be missng the point a little... The backbone of the frigate fleet is still Type 22's, which are very old (likewise, the backbone of the destroyer fleet is 42's which are just as old, but one day they'll eventually be replaced :p) - and comparitvely manpower intensive, which is something we can't really sustain (250 men ish iirc?).

Frigates are probably the most useful mutlirole ships besides helicopter carriers - as you yourself pointed out they can fulfil antisubmarine, surface combatant, limited antiair and naval gunfire support roles.

It's not really accurate to say that the helicopter is the only useful antisubmarine weapon on a frigate, I KNOW that you know the towed array sonar is it's most useful asset, and likewise I KNOW that you know that it's passive sonar and not active sonar that you use for hunting submarines, you only fire up the active sonar when you have a very good idea where the sub is as it broadcasts your position to a far greater range than that which you'll get any useful return from.

I get that you hate BAe, and I can't say I disagree that the proposed concept ship is the way forward (I preferred the original FSC concept that was basically a repurposed 45 shell) - but equally I know if you let the steam wear off and think rationally for a minute, you aren't suggesting the Royal Navy replaces its fleet with converted merchant ships as there's much more to making a competent multirole warship than sticking some helicopter pads on the back of a passenger ferry. They're two different ships designed for two different roles - what you keep referring too is more like an amphibious assault ship or an LPD and we already have plenty of those. While they have their place, it's not the same place as a frigate.

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I have to disagree

Sorry Lewis, what you have drawn is as Q used to say "My Retirement Fishing Boat".

Now _THIS_ is a frigate: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovremenny_class_destroyer

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(untitled)

I've very little knowledge of warships, but your url seems to suggest that this is, in fact, some kind of destroyer?

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No it's not

It's a destroyer :P

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But its just so pointy

And would make a great place for the Admirals to host cocktail parties around the sunnier climes.

Taken directly from the RN buyers handbook. Alas, it is only two pages long.

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FAIL

Small beer

For obselete, expensive kit the Trident replacement will be the Daddy of them all. We clearly need a first-strike weapon to deter the Soviet Union, don't we?

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Big ships = big target

So Mr Lewis would much rather be on the oh so quiet capital ships when there's a sub around hmm... Thanks but no thanks I'll stick with the frigate thank you very much.

Good to see Mr Lewis also fails to mention all the other tasks that frigates and distroyers perfom...

AC because I like my job :-)

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Iraqi Army

What? Lewis didn't mention buying US kit? I jest!

Using merchant ships reminds me that under Oil for Fraud the Iraqis couldn't get new tanks, but they could buy a ton of Toyota pickups and mount machine guns on them (not saying Toyota were complicit, they could have been anything for all I know). A few Hi-luxs won't last long against well-trained Challenger II tank-men, but you do get a lot more Hi-luxs than tanks for the money.

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Bleh

Another article by Lewis.

Amazingly no call for cheap mass produced US ships, which is his usual clarion call. I have to say not everything is rong in the article, but these articles have no slid to the point where they are just hypercritical and repeating the same view over and over again.

Tired point of view, try another angle.

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WTF?

No alternative US option mentioned

I admire such restraint.

£1/8Bn just to *design* this. How much to *not* design it.

The UK last serious naval shooting war was (AFAIK) the Falklands in 1982. It seems hard to believe that *nothing* was learnt from that. Otherwise what are we talking, WWII? Korea?

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Anonymous Coward

HMS Exeter

Retired from service last year, the last warship in service *anywhere in the world* to have shot down an enemy combatant. Yes, in the 1982 Falklands conflict [1]. So now there are none. When this fact was communicated to me by one of her officers, he did point out that the Americans might have shot down some of their own, but that doesn't count.

[1] Which we very carefully didn't call a war, at the time, due to the unpleasantness this causes. Why do we do so now? Discuss.

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A better solution might be:

A nice PlayMobil version. They could make lots of them for the multi-millions they now cost. They would then show up in pictures (a bathtub works pretty well for an ocean simulator) and they could get all approved.

Probably be just as useful according to the article.

Good luck.

My choice: A nice Nimitz class aircraft carrier. Sorry that blighty can't afford one (I don't know if Uncle Sam can afford them now that we'll be paying for the drug addicts and fatties clogging the system).

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The picture is a typical british design

After reading the article one more time and going back to the picture:

It is a typical British design - designed by a committee with everyone's wishes accounted for and nobody being told a NO. Someone wanted to have a cannon - here is a cannon, someone wanted to have some anti-ship capabilities - here are some harpoons, etc.

The result is something that wants to be a destroyer, but cannot quite make it to that level. Meaningless ship. It has to either grow up and become a proper destroyer like the most recent Russian (and the ones they sell to China) or American ships or slim down and become something usable for antisubmarine warfare/special ops like the ships French and Russian use for the purpose.

That however means some members of the committee which have decided the spec to be told to f*** off and leave the room. It means saying NO. That is an anti-British behaviour and insults the Britishness of the committee to its core. That is the actual reason why Britain will get this inferior and rather useless ship while other navies will get something better. It is not BAE, it is not officer career or any other reason for that matter. It is British committeeing

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I Mostly Agree.....

But if you are going to have a helicopter and harpoons, then you need something bigger than a fast attack craft.

I the frigate is a handy boat to have when you are dealing with tinpot armadas. It wont win any battles with the yanks or the ruskies, but it will put more than a dent in any somalian pirate vessels and would be handy to have to intercept and take down drug runners. You dont need a whole destroyer for that.

The question is whether we should devote any time to those activities.

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Indeed you don't need a destroyer...

You need a modernised version of something like this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunt_class_MCMV

plus a third-hand containership to refuel/rearm it and to fly the helicopters from. Massively more useful for any scenario the Royal Navy is likely to get involved in now that the Special Relationship is officially over.

As for aircraft carriers - dream on, those kinds of toys are for countries with real money to spend. Not going to happen.

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I mostly agree too, but...

You don't need a frigate either. Any boat that can carry a couple of well-armed helicopters can outrun and outgun a Somali pirate, and a balloon on a long rope gives you "over the horizon" radar capability as well.

Everything depends on who you think your enemy is.

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Happy

Great names though

Very Cultured.

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Even if

how to use them remains a bit of a Grey Area?

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Alien

Applause...

...for these references!

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Pint

You both seem to be

Experiencing a Significant Gravitas Shortfall

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Coat

Very Little Gravitas Indeed

But I'm Quietly Confident I'll do better next t ime.

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Ouch!

No wonder this guy left the Navy, how could they tolerate someone who tells it like it is like this? One thing not discussed is the option to purchase off the shelf ships produced elsewhere at a fraction of the price and timescale.

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Uh, Lewis?

"A frequent justification for frigates and destroyers is that you need them to protect carriers, but the fact of the matter is that carriers can protect themselves on their own far better than the escort ships can."

You kind of had me up to there but, no. Just no. A carrier needs a protective screen. It is actually a very vulnerable ship, even with a combat air patrol, because most of its hull is filled with things for the planes it carries rather than defensive weapons. Every defensive weapon reduces its effectiveness in its primary function of being the place where planes come and go. Back when we had real carriers the doctrine was that the support group served as a sort of mobile ablative armour that could vastly increase the effectiveness of a carrier by allowing it to perform its primary function without the distraction of also having to be a heavily armed cruiser.

Frigates do serve a purpose and that purpose is to be cannon fodder, pretty much. Up to now frigates have been relatively cheap, high speed combat vessels that served as a general purpose screening patrol for carrier groups, or which would operate in pairs as a peace-time sea patrol, maybe with a destroyer on hand to bulk them up a bit. They're like the interceptor to the destroyer's fighter-bomber.

Now you could have come from the direction of the MOD being terrible at procurement and driving up the cost with daft practices and requirements. You could have, and that would have been all you'd need to do, but you went off on this bizarre rant against an integral component in an effective naval force. I don't get it, unless you're just saying these things to court controversy and get comments, in that case mission accomplished, I guess

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A good example:

The Falklands. They repeatedly sent frigates into the path of oncoming bombers and exocets to keep our carriers safe. Remember Lewis, we only have three carriers at the best of times, and only one is typically engaged in operations at any one time. In the Falklands, just like today, if you lose a carrier then that is _it_. You go home in defeat.

My mind boggles at this article. Of all the combat ships used by the navy, frigates are the most numerous and most useful. Patrolling for pirates? Use a frigate. Need to send support for a tsunami? There's already a frigate patrolling for pirates, just re-direct it.

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True, but...

...weren't the carriers mainly kept safe by Maggie extracting "Exocet disarm codes" (how does that work then?) from Mitterand by her threatening to nuke Argentina if the codes were withheld?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/nov/22/books.france

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In my day...*

It was all battleships around here...

Then the aircraft carrier came along and all those nice shiny hunks of metal became pointless, easy targets. Interestingly now that AA defences are more advanced (and 'missiles' tend to hit things) having a big, very well armored battleship to pound shore targets and provide a really stable platform, lots of troops and a lot of missiles makes some sense, but it's a lot of money.

We are looking at a range of scenarios for modern fighting craft - and, unless we are looking at fighting the USA or China, none of those will have much in a big-ship to big-ship fight.

Nowadays the fighting will be far more likely to revolve around small boats, somalie pirates and the like.

Therefore helicopters capable of anti-sub ops, carrying troops and/or missiles would be a very good way to go.

So maybe a container ship with the choppers stored in the containers (to keep them nice and dry/protected) and with it's own defences would be a far more practical way of supporting current needs.

As you say though Lewis - it's not a big shiny ship for people to get excited about and run up that promotion ladder on.

We used to have a Navy that was dedicated to the protection of the nation - not the progression of it's officers.

ttfn

*not that I have ever been in the navy, but that doesn't stop me form having a viewpoint.

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Grey paint?

Is it the grey paint thats so expensive because these ships are cheap to build in the far east and then just bolt on your goodies.

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Anonymous Coward

Critique is all good and well, but it does pose a question

Not unusual for armies, navies, and air forces to plan for the last war, then get solidly trounced in the next one. In fact, this is what happened in WWII, on unprecedented scale. And in WWI, come to think of it, altough the watching-the-headlights brass, on all sides, then could use the excuse of having the shiny new kit but no inkling of what it would do to their dreams of glory. The next war they very definitely couldn't have that excuse any longer.

Here, the various MoD factions seem to have lost sight even of the last few wars and are basically tinkering with toys as long as BAE can be given some overpriced contract or other. Which is now an American company anyway, so why bother? The few British workers left might as well be making Blighty-Built[tm] trashcans for all the strategic good it'll do.

One reason why they still have free reign, apart from incessant pork barreling, is that nobody else even pretends to know what the next war looks like. They leave that to ``the professionals'' even when those get blindsided by somalian pirates. Those pirates appear to be better organised to boot, running in a free pirate market with pirate stock exchange. THEY manage to fund useful fleet assets for less and much quicker than the MoD manages it.

So I pose a question: What will conflicts in the next score years look like, how big will they be, and what fleet, army, and air assets does one need to hold one's own with some hope of trouncing the enemy? Don't ask the MoD, they don't know and are no longer even interested. Ask almost anyone else. Then we can send the brass back to school to learn to use the new kit and maybe get on with some jolly old defending the nation for a change.

It's pretty sad, but if you're at a point where dropping the entire MoD and replace it with a really big sack of money to buy mercenaries with has you come out ahead, you at the very least have room to think up options.

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Pirate

RE: Critique is all good and well, but it does pose a question

"Not unusual for armies, navies, and air forces to plan for the last war, then get solidly trounced in the next one....." Which is why we see "multi-role" platforms like the new frigate, which try and cater for just about every possible role so we don't end up with expensive, one-role ships (cough*air-defence destroyers*cough). But Lewis overplays the RN's clout in actually making many of these long-term strategic decisions, many are settled by White Hall mandarins that have never served on a ship in any form. In wartime we can afford as many single-role, specialist designs as we like, with the Navy pushing for what is actually operationally required, but in peacetime it's just too expensive. So we end up with generalist ships that are sometimes exposed as not good when thrown into an unexpected situation (like having to protect a landing force in the close San Carlos Bay from continuous fast fighter-bomber attacks, with ships and systems actually designed to shoot at the odd Soviet recce Bear in open waters). Those generalist ships do the majority of peacetime roles quite well and to a relatively cheap budget. And I say cheap as we tend to keep them for many years, rather than refreshing with a new design whenever a new threat arrives (or ships are lost to action, as happens in wartime).

"....So I pose a question: What will conflicts in the next score years look like, how big will they be, and what fleet, army, and air assets does one need to hold one's own with some hope of trouncing the enemy?....." If we were truly planning independent large operations, then more destroyers and heli-carriers would make more sense. But the truth is our politicians are unlikely to ever commit us to another independent war again. Even the Falklands was completely unexpected. The intention is that our Navy will work either as a small part of an Allied fleet (which means playing a token role in support of the US), or as part of a combined European fleet (which means playing guess-the-role with a bunch of unelected Eurocrats with a level of rampant corruption that make BAe look like schoolgirls).

Looking ahead, the RN will probably be tasked with the following for the next twenty years:

1. Anti-smuggling ops, especially in the Carribean.

2. Anti-piracy ops, especially off Africa and possibly in the South-East Asian environment.

3. Fulfilling the anti-submarine and mine-sweeping roles as part of an Allied (US) fleet in a UN role (possibly against Iran as they do have a few subs and plenty of mines, very unlikley against the Norks, Russians or Chinese).

4. Acting as a deterent to a bankrupt Argentinian navy.

5. Supporting disaster relief ops, where actual shooting is unlikley to involve anything bigger than a Gimpy.

For all the above, even the current Type 22/23s are quite effective (especially with Lewis's other bugbear, the Merlin), so maybe we should spend more on modernising those old hull designs to stretch them for another twenty years rather than replacing the lot with a "do-all" new design. BAe does do a lot of open market design work at the taxpayers expense, but then that is because politicians let them as a way of safeguearding jobs in "deprived" areas. Having said that, it would be horribly expensive to buy up old merchantships and refit them (all different and individual refits with each having to be an individual redesign), and then maintain all those different designs with their different machinery, even if their combat systems were common. The only way round that would be a mass order of a single merchant design, and that would then probably lead to modifications being made to the design to suit the new role, pushing up the price as it moves away from be a merchantship to being a hybrid that probably does less but costs almost the same.

But I do disagree with the idea of the carrier being the multi-role solution to everything, as it is also an all-eggs-in-one-basket solution - we usually can't afford more than two or three at a time, which usually means only one in any outing. Should an opposing force sink the carrier then the rest of the one-role ships in the area will be sitting ducks, so they actually need to be capable of looking out for themselves.

/Pirate icon for obvious reasons ;)

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Stop

Merchantman vs Frigate

RFA Merchantman - 18 knots

Frigate - 30 knots

'nuff said.

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FAIL

Why not a car ferry?

If it's speed you want, this 55 knot car ferry beats your 30 knot frigate http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferry#World.27s_Fastest_Diesel_Ferry

I really don't understand why naval ships stick with single hull designs, when catamarans beat them hollow in every measure. In olden days, I could see the idea of a narrow head-on profile being an advantage, but now with everything being BVR missiles, having a shorter, wider design would shirley be better? Also, a single hull used to give better manoeuvrability, but a modern cat has jets along the sides, so probably wins there too. I bet the car ferry is more fuel efficient too.

So buy an off-the-shelf car ferry and stick a heli-pad on the back and line the sides with as many missiles, radar, etc as you want. The car-deck can carry men, supplies, etc. Maybe even make it reconfigurable/modular according to the mission, rather than fixed at build?

Actually, a quick google points to the US Navy moving to trimarans, e.g. the Australian built LCS-2 USS Independence http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Independence_(LCS-2)

It's an ugly ship, but it does 44 knots and I know which I'd rather be on in a fight with a type26.

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We used to have one

RV Triton is a trimaran of corvette size. It was built to test the idea and is now in the service of the Australians as a customs patrol ship.

It was sitting in Portsmouth for ages.

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Title

Meh, Britain's a long time no large sea power anyway anymore, the MoD and BAe just fail to realize that...

That said, the Frigate is, from an aesthetically point of view, a wreck

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Alien

Maybe the RN...

Anticipates that its main enemy in future will be Somali pirates, er... freelance drug importers, and naughty Spanish trawlers. Nothing like a long-term plan to prepare for the present.

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Pirate

Time is the issue

What everyone forgets is ships and aircraft take a long time from procurement to delivery and operational readines. Lets say god forbid WW3 breaks out and we have to fight a real war, Chinese, USA, Russia or the whole 3'rd world. If the UK needed a nuclear deterant at short notice it cannot be built, carriers cannot be built quickly or fast jets at that matter. Frigates give you a small fast platform to load with weapons at short notice, They look quite pointy so would be much faster at reaching trouble spots than a merchantman with a flight deck.

Yes we didn't have the right gear for Afganistan but we could buy it and deploy it within a year or so. We could mobiles and arm the whole country quicker than building even a half dozen ships. My view is large procurements like this is about having the platform available when you need it.

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Grenade

BAE? Bollocks more like!

Time to ditch this great money sink for the benefit of everyone.

BAE have milked the taxpayer for way too long.

"Ohh but all those wonderful tech jobs will go elsewhere if we dont throw money at them!"

What, all those jobs that are being funded year on year by several hundred % by the taxpayer? No thanks lets have some jobs that puts money back into the coffers shall we.

BAE - The biggest tax crack whore around.

If you work for them...you should be ashamed!

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Containerships

ISO containers full of "mission specific kit". e.g. need SAM's load a container of VL-Sams, Amphib ops...load that container etc.

A) All surface ships are targets for air & subsurface. Can a surface ship out run a SSN/MPA/FGA/Drone?

Heck a drone + a2a refueling may well have greater "persistence" than a frigate.

B) Crew should be as per commercial container-ships (20?) & then add the relevant "mission specialists" e.g. 100 marines if doing anti-piracy or a mix of marines & helo techs/pilots etc.

C) GIve it sufficient lifeboats as you have to assume.....all surface ships are expendable.

The reality of the light blue fascination with manned fga & the dark blue fascination with sleek & fast surface ships is that that's why they joined in the first place.

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Flame

Too much spin, little substance

A few corrections for Lewis (yet again!): The landing deck can take a pretty good sized heli (up to Chinnok sized the press release says, oooh I wonder why that could be useful?!), there may be a separate hanger for a UAV, it may even have a UUV (oooh never thought of that one!), harpoons are not discussed (read the navy wants cruise missiles this time please) and there will be a mission bay for the special mission types... This news came out last week Lewis and you need to read more than just the newpaper articles which don't tell you very much!

On the other hand, Lewis is right to say the navy is probably being unimaginative and that this is all about keeping BAE and the shipbuilding industry going. The trouble is that you have to give them something to do, otherwise you lose them then you really have no choice but to buy from abroad. If you want to pretend to be a UN veto wielding country, you need to be able to produce your own phalluses (I mean warships) otherwise no one takes you seriously. It is no accident that the Chinese, Indians and Iranians (who to their credit, think quite creatively) want loads more frigates not just helicopter carriers.

Now correct my history if you may, but didn't the merchant navy get pretty badly massacred in WW2 because of lack of armour and trying to ask those rust buckets to do too much? It strikes me that putting all your ASW force on a large thin skinned hull might be putting your eggs in one basket although I do not disagree that this concept should be explored more.

Final point, this is only the assessment phase for the ship (talk of jobs, final specs etc is premature) and there is a defence strategic review coming up (something else the press release said, but the newspapers, except the BBC online, glossed over Lewis!) so the navy have set this in motion based on the defence priorities today. If the defence review says junk the cold war style equipment and focus on asymetric threats only, then Lewis' dream of cheaper helicopter ships may become more of a reality...

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@Ratfink

Or let's suppose the Alpha Centaurians come down looking for a fight. We'd better plan for that, yeah?

It isn't in the interests of any country to start WW3. If you try it, the entire world economy dies, and your country (whoever you are) reverts to the stone age. Maybe other countries are further back in the stone age, but this isn't exactly comforting news. The only countries who *might* try it are countries who don't have any global economic force - in other words North Korea, and that's about it.

I'm not saying that these frigates are right or wrong. I'm just saying that *ANY* defense planning that includes defending the country against WW3 is by definition wrong. If they'd at least plan for the *current* wars, it'd be an start.

And what's the Navy's role in current wars? Answer: blockading ports, providing air cover, and maybe providing a bit of artillery support. Air cover and blockades, a carrier is your friend. For blockades against Somali pirates and the like, a lot more cheaper, faster, more lightly-armed ships would definitely be the answer. These ships can also keep things away from a carrier long enough for the carrier to do something about it.

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Black Helicopters

So why not?

Can't we keep more people happy by splitting the order?

Why not buy x amount of off the shelf Corvettes to keep the wannabe admirals in a job and give them something to steer, don't Vospers still make these? Then we can fit whatever makes them useful; mirrors to make them look bigger maybe and a nice new jib for the all the existing admirals personal barge's.

Then order something bigger, cheap and more useful, but hopefully rather more combat ready and survivable than a CAM Ship to house helicopters, Tomahawks, Marines etc. Better still, make them nuke powered and save on fuel, plus have sufficient electricity available for rail gun or a laser later on?

Or would that upset BAe as they don't make Corvettes and don't have the capacity to build cheap combat capable semi-merchant ships.....shame.

PS What happened to the proposed shorter wider frigate/destroyers someone came up with that were supposed to be more combat survivable and have a bigger heli-pad on? Or did these quietly get pushed to one side because BAe didn't think of them or only had the right width boat yards to build pointy grey boats? :-)

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Black Helicopters

Seems about right

(Note to Royal Navy: please don't just rip this off and chuck it in a procurement document. But, if you do, please preserve the wording for comedy purposes.)

Proper delineation of ship size and class.

8-12 corvettes, of a size of approx 1500long tons displacement. Make sure they're stealthy, such as the Turkish Milgam class, or the Swedish Visby class - hell, we could just buy them direct off-the-shelf! Put on about as much armament as is proposed for this new frigate, but less Harpoons and more guns - a couple of 4" guns will be fine, with some 50mm rapid-fire cannons and a single central AA battery. Use 'em for taking out drug-runners (sorry, sorry, recreational pharmaceutical transportation specialists) and pirates.

About the same number of frigates, upto 2750long tons ish. Heavier armour and armament, focus them on sub-hunting and carrier screening. Above all, make 'em cheap! They should be able to carry two proper size helicopters, and be able to withstand a sensible amount of air assault for their size. Make these ships unpleasant enough that if one pitches up on your coastline, you take note of it!

Above them, have say 6 or so destroyer/cruiser size vessels (heavy destroyer?). Make 'em relatively big, but base them on the same design as the frigates - just add in another couple of hull frames and be done with it. Make sure they've got at least 2 half-decent sized (read: not poxy bloody 5" waste of space) multi-barrel turrets on them so they can actually do meaningful shore bombardment with cheap dumb shells instead of £1m Tomahawks. Put a decent number of tomahawks and harpoons on them as well, for good measure and precision strikes.

Take all the money you save by consolidating designs, using similar equipment rather than bespoke overpriced garbage, and using as much off-the-shelf componentry as you can, and put bloody reactors and steam catapults on our new carriers!

Then, use the money you save on buying F35As rather than the less-mission-capable and much more expensive VTOL F35s, and buy the bloody Army some decent guns! Alternatively, use the savings to buy another couple of destroyers and frigates, make THEM nuclear so we have a high-speed, non-resource dependent task force, and go nuts with the railguns baby!

Note: Care should be taken to properly read any contracts drawn up with suppliers to ensure that the MoD isn't paying for 18ct toilet seats in the corporate HQ etc. etc. Make sure you have proper time constraints and pain-gain mechanisms. Don't move the bloody goalposts after they start! Decide what you want and get them to build it!

Oh, and please stop designing things by committee. It doesn't work.

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Joke

New frigates...

But can they fit a web, scram and neut and still be cap stable?

Apologies to those who don't get the reference...

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Nice

I miss my days as a frigate pilot...

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WTF?

£128m for the *assesment* phase

But if you want us to *build* it that will cost you some *serious* money.

Was it just 2 weeks ago that BaE threatened the UK government that if they didn't get an armored vehicle contract the c500 workers at Vickers they were planning to lay off would actually *be* laid off?

Now General Dynamics have the contract and most of the work will be done in the UK. Same jobs. Different workers (or depending on where GD are based and deals they make, the *same* workers).

It's not the defense industry, its the defense *business*. Patriotism is just BS these guys talk to win a contract. Nothing more. Nothing less.

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Anonymous Coward

jack

Jack of all trades, can kind of do a bit of everything badly. Lucky I'm not a military man.

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Time To Rationalize in Europe Defense Procurement

How many frigate programs are there in Europe ? I guess only Ireland and Iceland don't have their own.

The end result is certainly sub-par performance as compared to American and Russian (and soon Chinese) competitors. If a Eurofighter-like program were set up for Frigates, something competitve and much more cost-effective would be the outcome.

Actually, it could make sense to invite other democratic countries like the US, India, South Korea and Japan to get the "best bang" for the unit of money.

The major difference to Dutch and German designs seem to be the lack of MK46 torpedoes:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sachsen_class_frigate

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HNLMS_De_Zeven_Provinci%C3%ABn_(F802)

Also the Dutch-developed Radar seems to be pretty interesting.

I am absolutely sure a pooled European (or even larger) effort would result in something that works, is leading-edge and able to compete with anyone. It is time to overcome the petty national egoisms.

France and Britain should also pool their carrier efforts, as both countries can barely afford them.

Finally, it is crazy that Europe develops Eurofighter, Rafale and Gripen simultaneously, besides buying F16s and F18s from America. Time to rationalize European defense. That would be the sensible thing.

But yeah, I forgot the British-Dutch Stinking-Edam-Cheese animosity.

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